Review: Inherited Danger

Inherited Danger (The Dawning of Power #2) by Brian Rathbone

I give this book a 3.

Okay

This book picks up just after the end of the first book…because it had too. Needless to say, I didn’t like the way the first book ended, but since it rolled over so evenly into the second one, I was more open-minded to continue reading the story. (I bounced back and forth between listening and reading on my Kindle.)

In this follow-up to the Call of the Herald, Catrin goes on a “Lord of the Rings” type journey in search of…I think, the understanding of her power. The style of this story seemed a bit different from the first book, but after I got used to it, it wasn’t too bad. My major complaint is that not a lot happens for a long time and then everything seemed to happen all at once.

It was nice to learn more about Catrin’s background and that of her friends, even though, outside of Benjin (can’t remember how this is spelled), the others characters seem to do very little. There are tons of new characters introduced and some of them are even still alive at the end of the book, and who knows they may appear in the next story.

The understanding of the role of Herald isn’t clarified explicitly, but I think this is a good thing. It gives the reader room to decide if the Herald is a vessel for good or evil before seeing how things will play out in the story. At this point, it could still go either way for Catrin, especially since she can’t seem to decide if she’s a strong feisty fighter or a meek lost child. Sometimes she takes hold of the situation and uses her powers boldly and other times, she makes me think of a young wizard hold out his wand with his eyes closed hoping that he’s doing something right. I want Catrin to be a stronger woman than acts like sometimes.

Also, some of the relationships in this book are too quick or underdeveloped. Catrin meets her grandmother and a few passages later, we’re on to something else.

After saying all this, I want to be clear that I did enjoy this story, just not as much as I did the first one. I’ll eventually continue the series and would recommend it to fans of epic fantasy.

See my review of The Call of the Herald here.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: Call of the Herald

Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone

I give this book a 4.

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I have no idea how I originally got a copy of this book. I literally found a copy of it on my laptop and then downloaded it onto my Kindle. Later I looked it up on Amazon and downloaded a copy to compare, but there were no differences other than the covers.

The idea of being the chosen one is not a new concept and the reality of it is not without its ups and downs. So this is the story of Catrin and how she goes from being a farm girl to a (whole vessel of sorts) herald of war while possessing some neat and sometimes confusing “super powers”.

I must say that I like this story. It’s not without its flaws, but it’s good enough to pull me in and make me want to read more in the series. The story seemed like it was short, but it took a while to read. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that the pacing didn’t match the length of the book. Most of it all happened so fast, but nothing was left out, as far as I can tell.

It does end with a cliffhanger, which I do not like. I much prefer stories to reach some kind of resolution and then move on or change direction, but this is one of those stories that build up to… nothing and then you have to read the next book to see what happens.

I think if these characters had simply come to some sort of destination and left an opening to the next book, I would have given it a 5, but as is, I’m too annoyed to do so.

Still, it’s a good story and worth reading if you like tales of “the one” and prophecies being fulfilled. It’s almost a space opera, it’s almost a high-fantasy epic, it’s almost a paranormal coming-of-age tale, but ultimately it’s an adventure.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: Legend

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

I give this book a 4.

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This dystopian YA tale is centered around two young prodigies, June from the privileged side of the Republic and Day, a rogue in the sea of Rebels.  I actually enjoyed this story (on audio) even though I found so many little things about it that seemed cliché. However, clichés and all, I can’t seem to be disinterested in a fight the system story that shows just how treacherous Big Brother can really be.

So now, let me explain what I loved about the story and tell you just why I didn’t give it a 5. The whole fight the system theme is right up my alley, but I don’t understand why the main characters had to both be fifteen. I get that appealing to young audience is where the money is these days, but what is it about the age fifteen that’s so special…and prodigies or not, some of the stuff these kids do is just a little ridiculous.

Then there are the themes of rich vs poor and the discovery of government secrets and lies. I’ve read too many books and seen too many movies to allow the “mystery” of this story be a surprise. I figured out what was going on way too early, but I still enjoyed how it was revealed in the end. Like many stories of its kind, in this reality, there’s good reason the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor.

World building is very important in this story, though it’s hard to picture everything all at once. It’s one of those stories that describes the surroundings and give you background, but you can only see as far as the horizon until the end. Most of the significance of the Republic, from a geographical point, isn’t clear until about halfway through the story. All in all, though, I liked what was done and appreciate the lack information up front.

Then there is the ever-present notion of romance that’s sure to ensue in some capacity. This particular romance makes me think of a mash-up between Romeo and Juliet, The Hunger Games, and The Matrix. If I try to explain what I mean here, I’ll give too much away. I’m glad to say that the story doesn’t spend more time here than necessary, but then again we are talking about fifteen-year-olds.

The last thing about this story that both attracted and repelling me a bit, was the sense that the whole story was about a struggle between the kids and the adults, even though it wasn’t supposed to be. Some of the things that occurred seemed to focus too much on the fact that the main characters were teenagers, making their age an important factor. It seems to me that if this story tells of the struggle between The Republic and the Rebellion, the age of the soldiers wouldn’t be so important as their actions.

Also, the story is told from the alternating povs of both June and Day. I was expecting this to somehow greatly enhance the story, but I don’t think it made any difference, for better or worse. It was nice and not too difficult to follow.

I’d recommend this book to fans of YA and or dystopian fiction with the mention of some violence and some subtle gore.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

I give this book a 4.

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This is a story that most people are familiar with but few have actually read. Being one of those people for so long, I decided to rectify that. I’ve been in a phase of going back and reading many classical and pivotal works of literature, and like so many others, this story did not fail to live up to its reputation.

The first thing one notices upon reading this story is the use of language and the specific style in which the story is written. Stories just aren’t written like this anymore, and though it was an adjustment, I felt somehow draw to this unique quality. This classical style of writing gives this story an edge and a sense of mystery that would otherwise come off as boring or over exaggerated.

The true value of this story comes from the introduction of the duality of man, in which this particular character of Jekyll/Hyde represents. The duality of man wasn’t a new idea at the time this story was written, but this story captures a sense of humanity that is still assessable and applicable today. While instances that truly test the human psyche typically stem from some sort of trauma or moral or metaphysical dilemma, Dr. Jekyll explores the inner reaches of his soul simply because he can, and then there are consequences.

Many times people look at Edward Hyde as a villain, but he was only what Jekyll refused to be and was only able to exist because of Jekyll. After reading this story and understanding it to the best of my ability, I don’t see either of these personas as good or bad, but simply products of necessity.

Would Dr. Jekyll bothered to have sought the personification of this less socially acceptable counterpart had society not been so restrictive and “polite” at the time? Would Hyde have been so wicked if the perception of wickedness had not been so profound, or if his counterpart had been allowed the freedom to experience “wicked” things without the necessity of a transformation?

This story is in many ways a jab at society and the big picture that it paints in the minds of its citizens. Does everything have to boil down to a question of right and wrong, or is there an acceptable gray area of existence for humanity to dwell  within, and still live in harmony? I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll leave that to all the profoundly smart thinkers out there who believe they have all the answers.

For now, I just know that I enjoyed this story. Reading the account of these characters through a series of letters was strange and enlightening all at once. It allows the reader a chance to experiences different points of view, but can also have the effect of being indecisive and confusing. However, in this story, the confusion is a good thing. If you read this story with a full and complete understanding of every thought and emotion expressed, then you are truly an evolved person and should go ahead and ascend into the heavens. I kid, but seriously, this is not a clear case to understand: mentally, physically, or spiritually. If anything, this story excels at leaving the reader with questions of why, how, and what about me?

I’d recommend this story to anyone who appreciates classical literature, sci-fi, and thought-provoking stories that question the nature of humanity.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Review: The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

I give this book a 5.

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This is the story of Kvothe, who also has many other names, as told by the man himself. He is a wizard, but he’s something else too. He is powerful and defiant and “the stuff of legends”. This story beckons to a time when stories were told as song or poems, like the Iliad, but it goes far beyond that.

The Name of the Wind is one of those stories that I think people will either love or hate for two reasons. 1, the story of a wizard in this day and age can’t escape a comparison to Harry Potter. You either like the differences or not. 2, this is not a typical high fantasy tale of a wizard. Kvothe is a multifaceted character that doesn’t fit neatly into any specific category and readers will either appreciate that or not.

This story is crammed full of themes and elements that trigger excitement and emotion in my heart and mind, and I’m not just talking books. There are orphans, criminals, outcasts, demons, common folk, royalty, drug dealers, fairies, actors and there’s ageism, racism, classism, religion, and magic and more.

Having this story be told from Kvothe’s point of view is also atypical. He goes out of his way sometimes to down play or up play certain parts of his tale, but he can only fool half the people half the time. He tells his tale with such realism that you forgive the times when he goes off on an exaggerated tangent. Reading the part where Kvothe tries to describe the beauty of woman speaks volumes to perception versus reality, and the notion of telling people what they want to hear versus telling them what you want them to hear.

Now that I’ve gone and thoroughly confused you, let me say this. I love this book and will be glad to read the next installment.  While this is probably not a good bedtime story, it should be suitable for most teens, but this is definitely a story any adult with an interest in fantasy and or adventure will appreciate.

This review has been posted to GoodReads. If you’d like to obtain a copy of this book, try this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords